July 2011 Dashboard: Hybrid Sales Show Signs of Recovery

The HybridCars.com monthly sales dashboard is a collaboration of HybridCars.com and Baum & Associates, a Michigan-based market research firm focusing on automotive issues including the hybrid and electric vehicle market.

Hybrid sales in July recovered from last month, gaining 54 percent compared to June—but difficulties with the supply chain have taken a toll on cumulative sales of gas-electric cars in 2011. In July, for the first time, the year-to-date sales have fallen behind 2010. This is troubling, considering that most analysts expected 2011 to be a turnaround year for hybrids, after two consecutive previous years of declining sales. The key question is if this year’s trend will be reversed once Japanese automakers and suppliers fully recover from the earthquake.

Prius is clearly in recovery mode, gaining 82 percent compared to last month—although sales are still trailing from a year ago on a monthly and year-to-date basis. The Lexus CT 200h is also looking healthy, up a booming 547 percent over last month. The bigger news is the Sonata Hybrid. While the numbers provided by Hyundai are estimates—the company will only say that 20 percent of Sonata sales are for the hybrid—it appears that the gas-electric Sonata is the number two selling hybrid for the second straight month. The actual number of sales might not be quite as high as 4,177, but the Sonata remains a shining example of what happens when an automaker develops an innovative hybrid model at a compelling price, and backs up its efforts with decent production numbers. The Sonata is starting to look like a real winner, bypassing all other hybrids except for the Prius.

Honda’s smaller hybrids, the Insight and CR-Z, continue to hold their ground, but that’s just about where the field breaks between the few high-production models—and the 20-plus other models that serve as placeholders for when automakers get serious about hybrids or are mandated by rising fuel efficiency standards to increase production.

At first glance, sales of electric cars look disappointing, down 53 percent compared to last month. But this has nothing to do with demand. The Volt and LEAF have been severely affected by supply, leaving the legion of early adopters waiting for delivery. Chevrolet told HybridCars.com that Volt sales have been exactly as anticipated, as the company shut down production in June and July to revamp to increase Volt production in 2012. As a result of these plant upgrades, planned Volt and Ampera production capacity this year will increase to 16,000 units. In 2012, global production capacity is expected to be 60,000 vehicles with an estimated 45,000 to be delivered in the United States.

Diesel sales appear unscathed by the supply issues, and remain consistently high—nearly 40 percent higher than 2010 so far this year.

When supply returns, we’ll have the first real chance to see if the weak economy is pushing green-leaning buyers to the new wave of smaller, more affordable gas-powered cars, or if hybrids, EVs, and diesels will take the serious gains than many observers expected. In the end, it might come down to gas prices (as usual), which currently have backed off from the national average of almost $4 a gallon in May. The other major factor is new product, most notably the V version of the Prius, due later this year.

July 2011 Hybrid Car Sales Numbers

Hybrids sold in the US (July 2011):19,623
Hybrid Take-Rate:1.86%

US hybrid sales for July 2011

Model Units vs. last month vs. July 2010 CYTD vs. CYTD 2010
Toyota Prius 7,907 82.2% -43.9% 74,427 -7.1%
Hyundai Sonata 4,177 193.7% n/a 7,906 n/a
Lexus CT 200h 1,553 547.1% n/a 5,321 n/a
Honda Insight 987 -3.3% -46.9% 12,145 0.2%
Honda CR-Z 878 -9.1% n/a 8,890 n/a
Lexus RX450h 671 62.5% -50.5% 6,210 -26.1%
Ford Fusion 456 -52.9% -71.2% 7,780 -32.9%
Ford Escape 652 -21.1% -42.5% 6,176 -14.9%
Linc. MKZ Hybrid 480 -0.6% n/a 3,407 n/a
Toyota Camry 393 -12.5% -69.2% 5,834 -34.5%
Honda Civic 311 -25.6% -49.6% 2,744 -26.4%
Lexus HS 250h 306 92.5% 85.5% 1,663 -75.0%
Altima 204 -18.4% -46.0% 2,563 -42.1%
Toy. Highlander 185 150.0% -67.8% 2,981 -25.8%
Porsche Cayenne 130 -26.6% n/a 995 n/a
Mazda Tribute 48 -25.0% -29.4% 291 -24.6%
GMC Yukon Hybrid 46 -22.0% -41.0% 471 -42.8%
Cad. Escalade 40 -41.2% -61.5% 626 -15.2%
Chevy Silverado 26 -65.8% -77.4% 627 -24.6%
Chevy Tahoe 29 -52.5% -63.8% 397 -60.0%
Infiniti M35h 35 6.1% n/a 146 n/a
BMW Hybrid 7 20 -25.9% 122.2% 222 722.2%
Lexus GS450h 26 8.3% 62.5% 173 -11.3%
Mercedes S400 25 -3.8% -63.8% 207 -65.1%
VW Touareg Hybrid 14 -39.1% n/a 298 n/a
GMC Sierra 11 -21.4% -45.0% 130 -57.2%
BMW X6 7 16.7% 133.3% 37 -83.8%
Lexus LS600hL 6 50.0% -57.1% 45 -31.8%
Chevy Malibu Hybrid n/a -100.0% 24 -93.6%
Mercedes ML450 n/a -100.0% 1 -99.8%
All hybrids 19,623 54.3% -17.7% 152,737 -1.3%
All vehicles 1,055,905 0.2% 0.9% 7,366,283 10.8%

July 2011 Plug-in Electric Car Sales Numbers

Plug-in cars sold in the US (July 2011):1,057
Plug-in Take-Rate:0.10%

US plug-in electric sales for July 2011

Model Units vs. last month vs. July 2010 CYTD vs. CYTD 2010
Nissan LEAF 931 -45.5% n/a 4,806 n/a
Chevrolet Volt 125 -77.7% n/a 2,870 n/a
Smart ED 1 n/a n/a 88 n/a
All plug-in cars 1,057 -53.4% n/a 7,764 n/a
All vehicles 1,055,905 0.2% 0.9% 7,366,283 10.8%

July 2011 Clean Diesel Car Sales Numbers

Clean Diesels sold in the US (July 2011):8,653
Diesel Take-Rate:0.82%

US clean diesel sales for July 2011

Model Units vs. last month vs. July 2010 CYTD vs. CYTD 2010
VW Jetta 5,206 7.3% 45.8% 32,125 38.2%
Volkswagen Golf 966 -1.1% 135.6% 5,968 86.0%
BMW X5 562 -3.1% 23.5% 3,823 -12.1%
Mercedes GL320 362 -39.6% 103.4% 2,921 75.4%
BMW 335d 322 2.9% -42.1% 1,866 -11.1%
Mercedes ML320 318 10.0% 61.4% 1,877 55.4%
Audi Q7 288 0.3% 16.6% 2,314 49.6%
Audi A3 237 20.3% 22.2% 2,067 18.8%
Mercedes E320 214 -34.2% 7,033.3.0% 1,687 3,342.9%
VW Touareg 198 -9.2% 69.2% 1,536 49.7%
Mercedes R320 19 5.6% 58.3% 381 104.8%
Jeep Gr Cherokee n/a -100.0% 152 -75.4%
All clean diesels 8,692 0.5% 43.7% 56,717 38.5%
All vehicles 1,055,905 0.2% 0.9% 7,366,283 10.8%

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  • Yegor

    Thanks for publishing numbers so quickly!

    Hyundai Sonata Hybrid sales are nothing short of amazing!!!
    Hyundai saves the day!

    How to explain such huge popularity?
    Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is almost $3,000 less expensive than Ford Fusion Hybrid but provides almost the same fuel economy. It is also $1,200 less expensive than Toyota Camry Hybrid but provides much better EPA official fuel economy (Toyota Camry Hybrid real world fuel economy is actually the same as Sonata’s).
    Also Sonata Hybrid is only $2,000 more expensive than Prius.
    It looks like all these comparisons make Sonata Hybrid quite attractive.
    In short the price is right!!! 🙂

    You can see that Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is very popular there are already 9 records in “Your MPG” database in 3 months:

    Now Hyundai just has to make Tucson Hybrid and will sell another 4,000 vehicles per month!

    Kudos to Hyundai !!!

  • Nelson Lu

    Of course, the Sonata Hybrid was also delivered months behind originally-promised schedule, and originally was supposed to beat the Fusion Hybrid in mileage but didn’t actually do it. (It should also be noted that the current generation of Fusion Hybrid has been out for 2 1/2 years already; the 2013, supposed to be out in a few months, is supposed to deliver almost 50 MPG.)

  • Yegor

    I guess Hyundai is ready to compete with Toyota Prius. When are we going to see Toyota Prius competitor from Hyundai?

  • Shines

    I hope we see the Kia Optima hybrid next month. It is the same drive train and fuel economy as the Sonata hybrid. It is priced about the same and is much better looking (in my opinion).

  • AP

    Odd how right after Toyota began advertising themselves as an “American Company” that the Japanese tsunami hurt Toyota worst of all. Bad karma?

  • DownUnder

    Nelson Lu,
    You said: “…the 2013, supposed to be out in a few months…”
    Today is the 5th of August, 2011. I repeat 2011.
    Why don’t call it a 2014 model?

  • Yegor

    Toyota sold 24,220 Prii in July in Japan!!!

    Right now it is actually more profitable for Toyota to sell Prius in Japan than in USA. Yen is very strong right now and Prius in Japan costs
    2,050,000 Yen which is US$26,053

    So most Prii stayed in Japan in July?

    But still we can see how Toyota rebuilding Prius production. I think we shall see even more Prii in USA in August.

  • Yegor

    Prius V price in Japan starts from 2,350,000 Yen which is right now US$29,865.
    On the other hand it is is only 15% more than Prius (Prius in US: US$23,500 + 15% = US$26,939).

    What will the price be in US?

  • wxman

    Trying to figure out the apparent discrepancy between what VW claimed their TDI sales were (http://media.vw.com/press_releases/volkswagen-of-america-sales-increase-22-percent-in-july – 24.1% of 29,066 units sold in July = 7005 total TDIs) vs what is being reported here (5206 Jetta TDIs + 966 Golf TDIs + 198 Touareg TDIs = 6370 total TDIs).

    Where are the rest of the over 600 TDIs? What am I missing?

  • Nelson Lu

    Sean, Ford often releases Year X models early in Year X-1, as they are saying that they are doing with the 2013 Fusion, too. I bought my 2010 Fusion in April 2009, for example.

  • Rob E

    Because in America, any car released after January 1st of a calendar year can by deemed the next model year. Normal cycles call for new model year vehicles to come out in September/October, so the 2012 models for the most part are just starting to roll out of the plants. Technically, though, any new vehicle on sale on or after January 1, 2012 can be called a 2013 model. And yes, the 2013 Fusion is supposed to be out very early in 2012, which would make it “out in a few months.” That’s how we do it. Look up some facts before trying to slam someone else.

  • Mike S

    Say — what’s the source of this data? I’d love to look through the numbers for other vehicles not listed here.


  • Yegor

    Look at media websites of each auto manufacturer to see sales numbers of each model.

  • Zambaq

    There’s an obvious error in your clean diesel table: in the “CYTD” column, your total sales for all diesels is 56,717, which is the same number credited to the Jetta TDI alone! Which of those entries is wrong?

  • Max Reid

    Yegor : I look at prnewswire for each model, is there any other website especially for Japanese sales.

    Sonata Hybrid sold 4 times that of Fusion-H & Camry-H put together. Price & Mileage made the difference. Even in September when Prius is restored to full production, I dont expect many sales here in US since the yen’s appreciation would have eroded Prii’s margins.

    Same could be the case for Nissan Leaf.

    The only solution is for Japanese to relocate some Hybrid / EV sales here in US.

    Other than that, we can expect Optima-H to sell well and also if the Fusion-H price is reduced.

  • liuhuan

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  • Yegor

    Hyundai sales in Korea: Sonata and K5 (Optima) came to 7,772 and 7,051 units last month. Among them, hybrid models accounted for 19.3 percent (1,500 units) and 10.3 percent (729 units).


  • wandercivic

    Regarding the sales numbers for Hyundai Sonata Hybrid for August, Edmunds Auto Observer said “Hyundai does not split hybrid sales from overall sales of its Sonata line, but registration data collected by Edmunds.com, which corresponds closely with monthly sales, puts August’s total at 1,448,”


    I think HybridCars.com made a mistake about the July Sonata Hybrid sales results which they quoted as 4,177.
    Mk Business News said “Hyundai’s Sonata Hybrid, officially released in the US this April, saw a 25% month-on-month jump in sales in July by selling 1,780 units. “


    I checked several Korean sites, and they all quoted the July Sonata Hybrid sales number as 1,780.

    HybridCars.com should fix these numbers or the season total will be misrepresented.

  • tapra1

    o revamp to increase Volt production in 2012. As a result of these plant upgrades, planned Volt and Ampera production capacity this year Web Hosting Reviews

  • Jacob

    The Sonata is starting to look like a real winner, bypassing all other hybrids except for the Prius. Monster Energy Hats